HomeInsightsInformation Commissioner’s Office and The Alan Turing Institute open consultation on first piece of AI guidance


+44 (0)20 7612 9612

The ICO, together with The Alan Turing Institute, has published its first draft regulatory guidance into the use of AI. “Explaining decisions made with AI” is out for consultation until 24 January 2020.

Through the resulting draft guidance, the ICO says that it aims to help organisations explain how AI-related decisions are made to those affected by them.

The draft guidance lays out four key principles, rooted within the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Organisations must consider these when developing AI decision-making systems. These are:

  1. be transparent: make your use of AI for decision-making obvious and appropriately explain the decisions you make to individuals in a meaningful way;
  2. be accountable: ensure appropriate oversight of your AI decision systems, and be answerable to others;
  • consider context: there is no one-size-fits-all approach to explaining AI-assisted decisions; and
  1. reflect on impacts: ask and answer questions about the ethical purposes and objectives of your AI project at the initial stages of formulating the problem and defining the outcome.

In the ICO’s interim report, released in June 2019, the regulator stated that context was key to the “explainability” of AI decisions. The ICO says that this remains key in the draft guidance, and some sections are aimed at those that need summary positions for their work, and others include lots of detail for the experts and enthusiasts.

The ICO explains that its draft guidance goes into detail about different types of explanations, how to extract explanations of the logic used by the system to make a decision, and how to deliver explanations to the people they are about. It also outlines different types of explanation and emphasises the importance of using inherently explainable AI systems.

The ICO says that it is keen to hear from those considering or developing the use of AI. Following consultation, a final version of the guidance will be published later in the year, taking the feedback into account. However, the ICO will keep the guidance under review beyond then to ensure it remains relevant in this fast-developing and complex area. The regulator is also continuing to work on its related AI project, developing a framework for auditing AI systems, which is also going to be consulted on. To read the ICO’s blog post and to access the consultation, click here.